6 Steps For Trouble-Free Trailering…
Related: Snowmobile Summerizing Tips
Why should you take the time to do a thorough snowmobile trailer summerizing each spring? Reason one is to avoid premature deterioration resulting in unnecessary repairs or breakdowns on the road next winter. Reason two is to prolong the functional lifespan of your trailer for as long as possible by keeping it in tiptop condition. Bottomline, for your own peace of mind.
Harsh Towing Conditions
It’s all too easy to ignore your snowmobile trailer. But remember that every time you tow, your fully loaded trailer is exposed to the worst driving conditions of the year. These assailants include snow, ice, slush and extreme cold. Plus, all kinds of salty, sandy road crud. And new corrosive enemy #1, anti-icing brine.
What’s more, most winter highways are frost heaved, pot-holed and irregular. Meanwhile, secondary roads can be even worse. So, there is plenty of opportunity to aggravate any pre-existing mechanical trailer issues or even to start new ones.
Unfortunately, many of these remain invisible or undetected until it’s too late. Towing while exceeding your trailer’s weight capacity or with too much (or little) tongue weight only makes things worse. What’s more, none of the emerging mechanical issues will go away on their own. If anything, inattention and improper storage for several months only make matters worse.
Snowmobile Trailer Summerizing
So, the best prevention is careful snowmobile trailer summerizing. Do it yourself or have a mechanic do the service for you.
Prevention starts with buying a good quality trailer like Triton, with built in reliability and durability. But remember, no matter what brand of trailer you own, it’s not a maintenance-free product. So after purchase, how trouble-free it is and how long it lasts is up to you!
Here are six crucial snowmobile trailer summerizing tips to help keep your hauler rolling trouble-free next winter. And for many more to come…
Clean Your Trailer
Use a pressure washer to clean it inside, outside and underneath. But soap and water may not be enough anymore. If possible, also use a specific salt eliminator product, as sitting idle over the summer months seems to make corrosion worse than ever. Meanwhile on enclosed trailers, you may also want to put a protective coat of wax on the sides and roof after cleaning.
Do Complete Inspection
Eyeball your trailer from top to bottom, inside and out, and especially underneath. This includes axles, springs and the backs of tire rims. Check everywhere for loose, out of place, broken or missing parts, or any that are showing undue wear. Spring’s the time to get your trailer repairs and parts replacement done, so you’re ready to go when the snow comes.
Service Bearings & Brakes
If your trailer has brakes, check and service them before storage. Meanwhile, any moisture left in your bearings can start an issue that becomes a bigger problem during the next season. If your trailer has E-Z Lube or Bearing Buddy style wheel hubs, pump in a high-speed, lithium-based grease to displace excess moisture.
For trailers without these hubs, repacking wheel bearings eliminates any residual moisture in them. This prevents condensation from rusting them while not in use. Do not mix different types of grease.
At the same time, grease any cam bars equipped with grease fittings. And don’t forget to grease the entire shaft of your tongue jack and the inside the gear mechanism at the top.
Lube Everything Else
Use a lightweight penetrating oil or rust protection lubricant to spray all hinges, locks, pivot points and moving items like tie downs (even the D ring type). If your trailer has tie down screws in the floor for the skis remove them and spray lube into the nut below the floor. As well, it’s a good idea to leave the screw out over the summer when not in use.
Use Corrosion Protection
Apply an anti-corrosion product to all parts of the under frame of the trailer. Also be sure to mist items like the tongue, tongue jack, safety chains and coupler. Even if your trailer is aluminum, coat its frame especially joints and fittings where metal components are in contact.
Apparently, the road brine now being used by many jurisdictions to prevent road icing can be especially corrosive to the underside of trailers. That’s why some owners even get their trailers professionally undercoated. Meanwhile, if your trailer has torsion axles, a smart move is to remove the axle bolts every three years. Then inspect for corrosion and replace the gasket between the axle and frame.
Store Your Trailer
Once all these items are complete, park your trailer out of the sun in a dry area (inside if available, but preferably not on grass as this is a damp area that amplifies corrosion). If not, help preserve your tires by shielding them against sun rays, but avoid fully encasing them in plastic which doesn’t allow air circulation.
Take the weight off the tires and suspension, especially if you are storing sleds inside. Some owners even do this by setting the trailer up on blocks. This also acts as a good theft deterrent, but lock everything securely anyway (and don’t forget to lube the locks first).
Also, remember to angle the trailer appropriately so rainwater will run off the roof or deck and not pool.
My Last Word
Nothing can prevent Murphy’s Law from rearing its ugly head occasionally. But certainly, these best tips for snowmobile trailer summerizing will go a long way to prevent being stranded by the roadside in the dead of winter. Just to be double-sure, also follow my snowmobile trailer checklist each time before using your trailer.
Thanks to Craig Irwin and Paul McNichol of Alumite Enterprises for their expert advice.
The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.